Indian American professor says human brain acts like an expert chess player

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Karthik Kannan, professor of management, Krannert School of Management profile environmental portrait, (Purdue University/ Mark Simons)

Indian American professor Karthik Kannan, has discovered that the human brain works like an expert chess player as they are able to predict their behavior before it happens.

Kannan says that this can happen thanks to the explosion of big data, automation and machine learning, which have allowed today’s businesses to understand humans at an instinctual level, according to a press release.

“We previously were designing products to the extent that humans adapted to the them, instead, we are increasingly at the age where we deliver products that can adapt to humans, emphasizing human-centered design much more,” the Thomas Howatt Chaired Professor in Management and director of the Business Information and Analytics Center at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, is quoted saying in a press release, adding that the ways in which humans behave often is shaped at the subconscious level.

Kannan researches how products, policies and processes can be designed to appeal to human instincts and has identified how one instinctual behavior in which humans cooperate for their mutual benefit, known by researchers as reciprocity, has helped and hurt businesses in the retail sector.

While in one study, Kannan and co-authors Warut Khern-am-nuai and Hossein Ghasemkhani found product review platforms that began offering financial incentives for consumer reviews received significantly more positive ratings, while the quality of the reviews declined, in another, him and co-authors Vandith Pamuru and Khern-am-nuai found that restaurants near “PokéStops,” virtual locations in the augmented reality game Pokemon Go, enjoyed a higher number of customers and were able to charge higher prices.

“If you’re getting paid from a review platform to write reviews, you may be happy and may end up giving better star ratings to the products because of reciprocity. In fact, that may work against the review platform as it wants a clearer representation of the products for other customers on the platform. These phenomena need to be understood and included when companies design such engagements,” Kannan is quoted saying in a press release.

“Pokémon Go is one of the scenarios where the physical world we live in collides with the virtual world we interact with in a manner that impacts a company’s bottom-line, affecting profitability, ratings and foot traffic. This is another situation where the instinctual appeal from the game has a real world consequence to a business,” he added.

Kannan believes that this new way of thinking also could revolutionize transportation, public safety and political campaigns.

“Politics is one of the domains that has become much easier to fan the flames of public passion using data and technology in conjunction with instinctual appeal. It shows you how one person or a small group of people can influence the viewpoints of millions. There is a general trend toward using instinctual appeal in many organizations,” he said.

From gamification to social media, many of us already are instinctually engaged with companies as “some products like WhatsApp have been built successfully around instinctual appeal,” Kannan added.

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